Fragile States Index 2016

The Fragile States Index 2016 was just mentioned on beBee and I saw a nice dataset to visualize in Tableau. Here is the original high resolution image:


And here is the image that resulted from my very simple import of the data into a Tableau workbook:


The states of the Mideast, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa have been an interest of mine for the past several years. Here’s a nit with Tableau, but it’s probably a deficit on my part – the only way I could make Syria visible would be to suppress the appearance of Lebanon. Tableau also treats Western Sahara as Terra Nullius, when it’s an ongoing problem between Morocco which administers it and Algeria which hosts many refugees.


Here are the grimmest of the grim, seven states with fragility scores in excess of 110. Iraq is one bad summer away from joining them.


I’ve made a copy of the Fragile States 2016 workbook available. I really should start pulling in other data, but what I want here would be food and water security information, and that’s often scattered and dated.

EU GDP, Countries & Cities

Here are the European Union’s countries and their respective GDPs.



Here are the top twenty metro areas and their GDPs.



France, Spain, and the U.K. each have a capital city that makes up 15% to 20% of their GDP. Germany, with an economy 30% larger than the next biggest country, has no specific economic center. Can you envision why that might be?


Here are the top four German cities.


And here is a map of Germany in 1946, during the Allied Occupation. Germany was utterly ruined by World War II, then rebuilt as four separate areas.


Occupation Germany.png


The phrase Deutschland über alles is commonly associated with Nazi Germany’s conquest of Europe, but it has much older roots. The German Unification in 1871 finished a century long process of melding 300 principalities into a single nation.



The U.K.’s decision to leave the European union has rocked financial markets, despite the fact that they retained the Pound Sterling rather than switching to the Euro. There are serious political implications as well; the U.K. has almost always been first aboard when the United States is in the mood for an adventure. The U.K. will be less able to herd the rest of Europe into line behind them.


Germany’s unification in 1871 preceded a series of six realignments among Europe’s powers … which left them in a configuration that only needed a spark in Sarajevo to set World War I in motion. The idea that there might be a ground war in Europe, beyond the Cold War turning hot, was considered far fetched, at least until the breakup of the Soviet Union provided the preconditions for the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

The U.K.’s recent decision will not lead to armed conflict in Europe; the U.N. Security Council is very good at thwarting such things. It will lead to significant changes in the Mideast, as conflict averse France makes gains, while warlike (but war weary) U.S. contemplates a world where its facilitator in chief no longer has a seat at the EU table.

European Imperial Network 1872-1907

European Imperial Network 1872-1907


Crypto-Assets Report 2016-06-17

The major news this week is the $50 million heist from The DAO. Due to value fluctuation our charts only show a $39 million loss. The Tableau Workbook is available as CryptoAssets-2016-06-17.


Here are the six crypto-assets platforms, in order by decreasing market capitalization with their own tag lines.

Ethereum – Blockchain application platform

OmniLayer – Open-source, fully-decentralized asset platform on the Bitcoin blockchain

Counterparty – Platform for free and open financial tools on the Bitcoin network

Nxt – Advanced blockchain platform

BitShares – Your share in the Decentralized Exchange

NuBits – The World’s Best Stable Digital Currencies


Sorry this is so short, it’s been a long week, and I have to get my head around the robbery of The DAO. I may update this later in the weekend.

LinkedIn: Final Stats

The news of LinkedIn’s sale to Microsoft added a note of finality to my decision to back off using what has become a confusing, flabby platform, and I’m delighted at the response I received for Microsoft Purchases LinkedIn, Users Flee on @beBeeSocial. I thought it would be nice to take a snapshot of my stats before they begin to decline.

I reached 121st in views among my 738 contacts, but this was based on 195 visits in 90 days. That doesn’t seem right. I was picky about who I added, which should have pushed me lower.


I added a bunch of really active people and I finally found two that succeeded in pushing Kathryn Downen out of her perennial top spot. I feel there should have been more churn in this list.





What is the big lesson here?

If you put up a leaderboard, then mess the underlying functions of the system, the users will punish you by leaving in droves.

If anyone needs me, I’ll just be over here, coding up some Beautiful Soup for a Maltego transform that will let me explore @beBeeSocial in a familiar fashion …


Crypto-Assets Report 2016-06-10

As I hinted in Crypto-Asset Market Capitalization, I’m going to be producing a weekly infographic each Friday based asset values listed on CoinMarketCap. Once I get a better grip on what is happening we’ll delve into the particulars of the six platforms in use by the fifty nine markets. This was produced used Tableau and the CryptoAssets-2016-06-10 workbook is available for you to download.


Here are those six platforms, in order by decreasing market capitalization with their own tag lines.

Ethereum – Blockchain application platform

OmniLayer – Open-source, fully-decentralized asset platform on the Bitcoin blockchain

Counterparty – Platform for free and open financial tools on the Bitcoin network

Nxt – Advanced blockchain platform

BitShares – Your share in the Decentralized Exchange

NuBits – The World’s Best Stable Digital Currencies

Four of the fifty nine crypto-assets do not use any of the six blockchain based platforms employed by the others and there is no information available on their value. Given that there are six solutions that provide the foundation for fifty five assets, that is more than enough diversity to cover whatever those fringe players were attempting. Life is short; we’re going to ignore them unless they do something press worthy.


Thanks to the explosion of interest in TheDAO, Ethereum’s 76% of the total crypto-assets market capitalization equals Bitcoin’s dominance in the overall cryptocurrency market. The two Bitcoin based systems command 17%, leaving just 1.9% of the notional value to Nxt based systems.

But here’s another view that matters:


Nxt has the smallest overall market capitalization visible in our pie chart, but twenty eight of the fifty five assets we’re watching are based on it. Knowing nothing beyond what can be discerned from these charts, it’s a reasonable guess that Nxt is a rich development environment, and we may see some of those assets jump to the newly energized Ethereum bandwagon.

BitShares, with eight assets but only about $1m in market capitalization, appears to be a set of proxies for fiat currencies and the larger cryptocurrencies. NuBits stands alone.

One of the untraceable offerings, TRMB, is a Chinese effort responsible for 39% of today’s liquidity. Ignoring this non-blockchain crypto-asset, the two that are Ethereum based move at a volume four times greater than the the rest of the assets combined. I’m not here to egg on day traders, but liquidity does matter a bit, so I need to do something to recognize it. That’ll be a programming change between now and next Friday’s report.


So there you have it, the adventure has begun. If there is a specific question you want answered or a specific visualization you’d like to see, contact me on LinkedIn and I’ll try to accommodate you.

Another Meaningless Metric

A few days ago in Meaningless Metric: Profile Views I noted what really mattered to me, and being 129th out of 724 contacts. Today I’m 128th out of 732, and there is one thing in here that is tangentially interesting.


If I wanted that number to rise rapidly, I’d do the whole LION thing, add a couple thousand people who bring no value to my network, but who would boost those profile views. I grow my network mindfully, looking for information and opportunities.

One of the things that has been a persistent mystery to me was the presence of Craig Brittain as the #4 most viewed person among my contacts. He’s best known for having his revenge porn site IsAnyoneDown? terminated by an FTC ruling back in 2015.



Brittain is currently fantasizing that someone is going to fund Dryvyng, an Uber competitor where young women pay for rides not with cash, but with nudes. Is this a thinly disguised global pimping operation? A camgirl transition to face to face whoring facilitation venture? I can’t explain it, and Brittain can’t either.


I became acquainted with Craig last year because we both faced frivolous lawsuits from the internet’s least competent vigilante. I was hoping I might obtain some usable information from him, but instead I got a torrent of poorly reasoned, libertarian flavored ranting.

I could just drop Craig and clean up that top ten list, but I let him sit there as a reminder to vet anyone who approaches. Had I done a better job of this in 2013 I’d have never had cause to meet Brittain in the first place.


Today Brittain dropped to the #5 slot thanks to the addition of Deborah Wolfe, whom I met due to my increased tempo of comments on a broader selection of topics.

I’d be perfectly happy if my contact count rise to around a thousand and I sink to about #350, because that would mean I’ve added 250 interesting people. I’m sure Brittain and his hare brained promotion effort will be long dead by the time my network expands that far.

A Russian Sub In The English Channel

This somewhat breathy article in Business Insider dramatizes a recent contact between a Russian submarine and a U.K. frigate.

The U.K.’s vessel was the HMS Kent, a 4,900 ton frigate. This is the same displacement as the U.S. Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates, which we are retiring in favor of Littoral Combat Ships a third their size. The ship carries a 32 cell vertical launch system for anti-aircraft/missile duties, the Sting Ray Torpedo for anti-submarine duty, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. While the same size as our frigates, the array of weapons on this ship mean it takes a similar role to the U.S. Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers.


The Russian vessel was a Project 636 Kilo class submarine, a twenty year old design, as opposed to the thirty five year old original Kilo. This boat has six torpedo tubes, 24 mines, vertical launch cells for the Kalibur cruise missile, and they carry MANPADS – short range hand held surface to air missiles.


This improved Kilo type of boat has been in the news, launching the Kalibr into Syria back in December of 2015, as seen here.


Putting this in perspective, the U.S. has 31 Los Angeles class attack boats with 12 dedicated VLS tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles, 12 newer Virginia class attack boats, also with 12 dedicated VLS tubes, and four of our eighteen Ohio class nuclear missile boats were converted to firing conventional weapons. The former ballistic missile subs can fire 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, which gives them more firepower than the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser.


Executive Summary: OMG, the Russians can now do something we’ve been able to do for twenty years!!!


The renewed tensions with Russia are a concern, but the hand wringing news reports are as much propaganda as they are legitimate reporting. Our defense analysts had the vapors over China’s impending deployment of their first aircraft carrier, and Russia’s aborted purchase of a pair of French Mistral class carriers. My Global Carrier Infographic post put that in perspective – the U.S. has nineteen of thirty one carriers in the world, and most of the rest belong to friendly or neutral countries.

The United States has been bled white by a poorly prosecuted effort in Afghanistan and an adventure in Iraq. Now, at a time when we should be reducing military spending 25% to 35%, the world faces ISIS, Russian resurgent, and China returning to some semblance of a normal level of power after shrugging off an imperialist legacy.

Worst of all, the U.S. is cursed with a failed fighter design in the F-35 Punchline, and unlike during the time of the Cold War century series fighters, we do not have a plan B available. The only other air superiority plane we still build is the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which is rapidly approaching its fortieth birthday. If we truly need a workable twin engine carrier fighter, the Dassault Rafale is the only thing ready to go. (The Eurofighter Typhoon isn’t an option – no carrier model).

George Bush got us into the quagmire, Obama couldn’t move quickly enough to get us out, and now it seems likely that Hillary Clinton will be our next president, saddled with a hateful, disloyal minority that will be trying to impeach her for Benghazi before the inauguration ceremony is complete. That sort of irresponsible behavior will basically be a green light to China and Russia.